Free For All is the second solo album from Ted Nugent and it was a different beast in a lot of ways from his first album. As the recording of the album commenced, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Derek St. Holmes left the band, citing growing personal and creative conflicts with Nugent. Two solid years of living together on the road had taken its toll on the relationship.as well, St. Holmes was unhappy with Tom Werman’s production, saying that the producer was watering down the band’s sound. A full year before Bat Out Of Hell brought him international success, vocalist Meat Loaf was brought in by producer Werman to sing on the album. Meat Loaf was paid the sum of $1000 for his contributions to the album, which included crafting all of the vocal arrangements and two days of recording sessions. St. Holmes returned to the group after the album’s release, performing on the subsequent tour. Band management asked him to return at the request of Epic Records.
Kicking things off with the title track, the band gets started on rocking out and the song has Nugent playing some great guitar and the band sounding tighter than the first album. The next song, “Dog Eat Dog” was a single and was a great choice with the blazing guitar work, the smooth vocals from St, Holmes and the menacing sound that the band manages to put forth. With all of this, plus a great chorus, this makes for one of the best songs on the record. With “Writing On The Wall,” we get to hear Mr Loaf doing vocals and he actually fits in really well with the band, nothing like the over the top performance on his own work, instead you get a great performance from him that will blow you away. The album is actually more varied and works really well, with three different vocalists, you would think that it would sound disjointed, but the vocalists all do a great job on their songs. “Street Rats” is another song that is crunchy hard rock that should have been a single and is an ear worm for sure. “Together” is a slower song that is on the cusp of being exactly what you think of when you hear the name Meat Loaf, overblown and pompous, the only thing that saves the song is the amazing playing from the band. Thankfully, the last three songs are all rockers that take the bad taste from “Together” and coat your ears with the right medicine, hard rock deliciousness. Again, this album has been remastered and sounds amazing, so clear and clean, plus you get that cool green vinyl too.
Album number two from uncle Ted and you are still in the midst of the golden years, a band that is on top of their game and getting tighter and hungrier for the charts. Luckily, the band never went and tried to suck up to the pop charts, they just played what they loved…..hard rock, no frills and with heart and soul.